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John 21:1-19

It’s Time to Follow

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John 21:1-19

It’s Time to Follow

By Dr. Carol J Miller

Today’s Scripture story happened after God had raised Jesus from the dead. It may have been several days since the Disciples first saw Jesus on that Easter Day. Would they ever see him again, they may have wondered, or were they supposed to do something now? They did not know what they were supposed to do. Actually, they had been told to wait, but lots and lots of people don’t like to wait. Do you? What is it hard for you to wait for? [Accept all answers]. Sometimes it’s hard to wait for our birthdays, or for Christmas, or for vacation. The Disciples had a hard time waiting .

One day, seven of the Disciples were together, just hanging out, waiting. Suddenly, Peter said, “I’m going fishing!” Now Peter didn’t mean he was going just for fun. He meant he was going back to work––his old work as a fisherman.

I have an idea about Peter. I think he might have believed that Jesus wouldn’t come back again. I think that Peter was afraid that Jesus was mad at him! On the night before he died, Jesus told all the Disciples that they would run away when it got scary; they would leave Jesus all alone. Peter jumped up and shouted that all the rest might leave him, but Peter would never leave Jesus.

Well, later that night, Peter told three different people that he didn’t even know Jesus. Three times he said he was not a friend of Jesus. He did that because he was afraid. He did that because he was afraid that they would arrest him––just as they had arrested Jesus.

And then, Peter stopped––he realized what he had just done. He was Jesus’ friend, but he had said that he wasn’t Jesus’ friend because he was afraid.

So Peter cried. You probably think that grown men don’t cry, but sometimes they do. Sometimes they cry because they are sad. Sometimes they cry because a loved one died. Peter cried because he knew that he was guilty of betraying his friend, Jesus.

The people who had arrested Jesus killed him. They crucified him. Crucifixion was a particularly cruel way to kill someone. They put Jesus in a tomb––kind of like a cave––but Jesus came back to life after three days. We call the day that Jesus came back to life Easter.

Now, several days after Easter, the Disciples were on Peter’s fishing boat. They saw Jesus on the beach and they hurried to get to him. Peter jumped overboard and swam to shore. They had breakfast with Jesus. But no one said anything––they didn’t know what to say.

Then Jesus asked Peter a question––and he asked him the same question three times. The question Jesus asked Peter was:“Do you love me?” I think Jesus meant “Do you love the God I’ve showed you; do you love the things you’ve done when I was leading you?” Peter said Yes, and yes again, and three times yes! Then Jesus said,“Then let’s get going! We have things to do!” (Or something like that).

Jesus wasn’t mad at Peter for betraying him. He wanted Peter to come with him! Jesus forgave Peter. Now Peter and all the Disciples knew what to do. It was time to follow Jesus!

Scripture quotations from the World English Bible––or paraphrases by Carol Miller.

Copyright 2013, Richard Niell Donovan